Here are three things you need to know about Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Saturday. The Kings have a 3-1 lead after a 3-1 loss at home on Wednesday, and one more win would clinch the franchise's first championship in its 45-year history.
Can Devils captain Zach Parise heat up?
After checking in with seven goals and 14 points in the first 17 games of this postseason, the production has dropped off for Parise. He doesn't have a point in five games and has a plus-minus rating of minus-five in this stretch.
"Zach's game is so much more than the stat line," Devils coach Peter DeBoer. "He's the heartbeat of our team. He's the identity of our team. He forechecks, he back-checks, he kills penalties, plays in all situations. He really is our barometer. He's the guy that makes us go, whether he's scoring or not.
"Again, I don't measure his game on goals and assists. He's creating opportunities. They're eventually going to go in. He's had these type of situations before. It's tough out there right now for anybody to score. But I'm not concerned about his game. I know it's going to come."
Parise twisted his left ankle in the third period of Game 4 and briefly missed some time. But he practiced on Friday and will play. DeBoer will not make any changes to his lineup. That means veteran defenceman Henrik Tallinder and forward Petr Sykora will suit up again.
On the road again
Maybe it was fitting that the eighth-seeded Kings were upended in Game 4 because that has provided them with an opportunity to clinch the franchise's first championship on the road. Los Angeles has gone a perfect 10-for-10 away from the Staples Center in this postseason.
In two of their previous three series, the Kings captured the series in Game 5 on the road. They eliminated the Vancouver Canucks in the first round in Game 5 on the road and turned the trick again in the West final against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Devils need to score first to extend series
The first goal has been important in this low-scoring final. The Kings scored first in the opening two games in New Jersey to skate away with a pair of 2-1 victories in overtime. They scored first again in their 4-0 win at home last Monday. But the Devils reversed the trend by scoring first in Game 4 on Wednesday.
"The first goal's important," DeBoer said. "Again, I don't think there's any secret that we won the last game because for the first time in the series we found a way to get some momentum. It hasn't been for lack of effort.
"I think we've pushed hard enough in first periods of games in this series to grab the lead at different points. But [Kings goalie Jonathan] Quick either has made a big save or they made a good defensive play to keep us off the board. That momentum is important, for sure."
Projected forward lines for the Kings
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Simon Gagne - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick
Projected forward lines for the Devils
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Starting goalie: Martin Brodeur
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